When a spaceship lands in Vern Hollow, Jack's hometown, he and his no-account inventor-uncle Bud are busy trying to fix a car driven by Dr. Shumway and her daughter, Isadora. Although Uncle Bud secretly knows the aliens are after one of his inventions, everyone is surprised when the space aliens capture seven of Vern Hollow's residents and take them into outer space on a wild adventure. After a series of twists and turns, all of them are taken to Skreepia, the aliens' planet, where they have to defeat the Skreep queen before she can use Uncle Bud's invention to take over planet Earth. Filled with wonderful detail, humor, inventive dialog, and irresistible black-and-white spot art, THE DOOM MACHINE is a tour de force by one of America's most beloved storytellers. Readers will be caught up in the page-turning action, while at the same time they will love Mark's beautifully drawn evil space aliens--and an unlikely friendship between Jack and Isadora, who seem to have nothing in common at the beginning of the tale. As with the best science fiction, this novel speeds along without a hitch, and carries readers off into a brand-new world. A fantastic and accessible read for middle graders.
Publishers Weekly Starred Review - Picture book author/illustrator Teague (Dear Mrs. LaRue) has produced a madcap, heavily illustrated tale chockfull of malevolent aliens and superscience as well as a fair share of silliness. The year is 1956 and young Jack Creedle is a good-natured juvenile delinquent who can work wonders with engines, while his disreputable Uncle Bud may just be the world's greatest inventor. Equally brilliant are Isadora and her straitlaced mother, Dr. Shumway ('A lady scientist!' remarks the mayor of Jack's town after the Shumways are stranded there. 'That's something you don't see every day'). When alien skreeps, led by Commander Xaafuun (who hates 'ooman bings'), invade in search of Bud's most recent invention, Jack and Isadora are caught up in a rollicking interstellar adventure, replete with a crew of space pirates, a deposed princess, a wide variety of monsters and a pugnacious rooster named Milo ('Growing up had made the chicken mean. He was a typical Creedle in that way'). Borrowing wildly from pulp fiction, bad movies and even Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, Teague has a wonderful time with this occasionally disjointed but endlessly inventive first novel.